We enjoyed the John Cusack action-adventure movie “2012” as much as the rest of you, but Norton’s first trend he unveiled in his mid-January Norton Intelligence report made us feel a little better about where things are going.

To be sure, being in the marketing business the past few years has been difficult, even scary. When budgets get cut, oftentimes, marketing is the first thing to go. And that transcended into lost jobs for a lot of our colleagues as well. But, did you know that many of the large corporations, including McDonalds, spend more money on marketing in the downtimes? That’s right. When everyone else is battening down the hatches and just trying to hang on, it’s really the perfect time to part with some precious marketing dollars and make a name for company.

Why? Well, first, your money is going a lot farther during the lean times. Not as many people are advertising, or sponsoring events, or even putting out as much as marketing collateral or direct mail pieces. So your ad, albeit small, won’t have to compete with as much noise.

Second, when you see other companies advertising in a downturn, what do you think? They are having a hard time, so they are doing everything in their power to make ends meet? Doubtful. You, like most of us, think, “Wow, what are they doing right that they still have budget to do some great advertising?”

Third, in a time when some businesses are going out-of-business, and others are keeping to themselves, you can win over new customers with fewer dollars and less effort. A simple 10% off coupon goes a long way when people are trying to save every dime possible (see the success of “Extreme Couponing”).

2012 remains a mystery, and we’ll see how far the economic recovery goes (especially as we all wait to see what happens in Europe), but we’re excited about the prospects of the new year!